2023 ODI World Cup digest: India surge into final; Australia-South Africa bid to join them

The Men’s 2023 ODI World Cup has reached the semi-final stage in the race to play the final on November 19. Here we will round up the latest action and news from the event and bring you the insights from our reporters on the ground.

Top Story: India waltz into final after Shami seven-for and centuries from Iyer, Kohli

India 397 for 4 (Kohli 117, Iyer 105, Gill 80*) beat New Zealand 327 (Mitchell 134, Williamson 69, Shami 7-57) by 70 runs

New Zealand had no business giving India the nervous moments they did in a defence of 397 but India eventually made mockery of the supposed knockout pressure as they waltzed into the final, now one step from possibly the most dominant World Cup campaign. The average victory margin for them now is 175 runs, 6.4 wickets and 64.4 balls remaining. Australia’s 2007 triumph was 147.67 runs, eight wickets and 89.2 balls remaining.

In doing so, Virat Kohli went to a mindboggling 50th ODI hundred in front of his wife, in front of the man he went past, Sachin Tendulkar, and at a ground where the torch was metaphorically passed 12 years ago when he carried Tendulkar on his shoulders. Shreyas Iyer scored a second straight century, at 67 balls, the third-fastest by an Indian in a World Cup, all three in this edition.

Match analysis: School’s out as Rohit, Iyer rip up the textbooks in Mumbai

Look at Rohit Sharma’s scores in this tournament. One hundred – not a daddy – a couple of 80s and four innings between 40 and 48. That’s a rolling troll of a campaign, of all those people who harp on about conversions, of turning starts into scores, runs into landmarks and landmarks into skyscrapers. It’s fair to assume Rohit was one of those guys until recently.

And it’s been exhilarating to watch, arguably never more than at the Wankhede, when something very real was at stake, where the cost of failure, of getting out skewering a shot on 47 high into the sky before the powerplay had ended, was about as high as it can be. This innings, this entire tournament, Rohit has batted with the carefree energy of someone quitting a crappy job, of not having to pass an exam because they already got into college, walking away from an unhealthy marriage, or becoming a committed nudist – the energy released in shedding short-term toxicity for longer-term reward.

Virat Kohli’s record ODI hundred

Fifty now. The big five-oh. Virat Kohli has just cemented himself in sporting history by going past one of the great no-way-this-can-be-touched records of cricket at breakneck speed, zooming past Sachin Tendulkar’s 49 ODI centuries in just over half the time it took the great man. For a generation that grew up on Tendulkar carrying India on his shoulders and leading them to the forefront of the world game, this seems such a ludicrous, unfathomable feat.

Must Watch: How good is Mohammed Shami?

News headlines

  • After becoming the first batter to score 50 ODI centuries, Virat Kohli described the moment as “the perfect picture,” for having achieved the record in a World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, in front of his wife Anushka Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar, the man whose record he broke.
  • Match preview

    Australia vs South Africa, Kolkata (2pm IST; 8.30am GMT; 7.30pm AEDT)

    Can you feel the ghosts in the machine yet? Creeping out of the nooks and crannies of Eden Gardens, the most perfect venue imaginable for a contest that can barely move for historical baggage. It’s Australia versus South Africa in a World Cup semi-final. And if the mere thought of what’s to come hasn’t got your spine tingling in anticipation, then you’re surely dead inside.

    Forget everything you think you know about form and fortune, and the fallacy that the best team will always win on the day. Embrace instead a scenario in which every twitch of South Africa’s muscle memory (because, let’s face it, this is all about them) will feel as though it is attached to invisible strings, dragging their efforts backwards through space and time … through 2015, through 2007, through 2003. Through 1999 and 1992 … and back into the formless void from whence all of their World Cup agonies first sprung.

    Team news

    Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Travis Head, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Marnus Labuschagne, 6 Josh Inglis (wk), 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

    South Africa (probable) 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Temba Bavuma (capt)/Reeza Hendricks, 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen/Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Lungi Ngidi/Gerald Coetzee, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi

    Feature: Adam Zampa: The self-aware non-alpha on top of his game

    When you watch a wristspinner at the top of their mark and a batter has started shellacking them, what you are watching is vulnerability.

    Adam Zampa has known this feeling. In one match at Centurion in September, there was maybe nothing but this feeling. In that game, he disappeared for 113 runs, took zero wickets – and became the owner, at the time, of the worst figures in men’s one-dayers’ 4600-something match history. Australia would go on to lose that series 3-2. Zampa’s economy rate across the series would be 7.

    What happens next, though, is the important bit, because what happens next reveals how Zampa tends to respond to all those big questions cricket throws at wristspinners, and maybe more importantly, how the Australia team believes Zampa is going to respond.

    Tactics board: Why Starc and Jansen should be in the firing line

    Australia are the second-quickest starters with the bat, and the second-most miserly starters with the ball. South Africa have been slow starters with the bat – even slower than Pakistan and Afghanistan – but explosive with the ball, taking more powerplay wickets than any other team. South Africa have recent form on their side, having beaten Australia in their last four encounters, including once in the group stages of this World Cup. Australia, though, have the momentum of having won seven matches on the trot, plus some knockout ghosts to remind South Africa of. These are some of the tactical moves to watch out for as they face off in Kolkata.

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